– TAWFIQ TIRAWI
Tawfiq Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence, was one of the Palestinian veterans who followed Yasser Arafat, the late PLO chairman, already from Beirut in 1982.
After the PLO leadership returned to Ramallah in 1995, Tawfiq Tirawi was nominated as the Head of the ‘General Intelligence’, one of 8 Palestinian security apparatuses. At first he established correct work relations with his Israeli counterparts but soon developed strong resentment to what he described ‘Israeli arrogance”.
In the second Palestinian uprising – the Al-Quds Intifada, he and his men provided logistic support to Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in committing terror attacks. In some cases his men carried directly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
In operation “Defensive shield”, in 04/2002, Tawfiq Tirawi was declared by Israel as a wanted terrorist fugitive and he found shelter in Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, where he stayed up to 2007 when he got amnesty from the Israelis as a gesture to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Despite his attitude toward Israel, Tawfiq Tirawi is a strong believer in a secular Palestine and in the strategic necessity to reach a sort of compromise with Israel. He saw the Hamas as a strategic danger to the future of Palestine and the take over of the Hamas of Gaza Strip in 06/2007 (see – HAMAS 08.2007) a real disaster to the future of an independent Palestine.
From all the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, Tawfiq Tirawi was the most consistent and stubborn rival to the Hamas and the only one, on the national level, who took seriously the mission of containing the threat of the Hamas in the Palestinian West Bank. Tawfiq Tirawi became the spearheaded of an anti-Hamas crackdown in the Palestinian West Bank.
No wonder that the Hamas conditioned any reconciliation with the Fatah and any power sharing deal with Mahmoud Abbas with the removal of Tawfiq Tirawi from his post.
Indeed, amide reports of negotiation between Hamas and Fatah, under Egyptian sponsorship, in Cairo, President Mahmoud Abbas fired, on Tuesday 10/21/2008, Tawfiq Tirawi from his post. Mahmoud Abbas also declared, in contradiction to his former statements, that he intends to run for a second term as the Palestinian President in the next elections. Some say Mahmoud Abbas is the best thing that ever happened to the Hamas in their effort to take over the Palestinian Authority and, eventually, also the PLO (see – THE COLLABORATOR ).
Tawfiq Tirawi was the last real obstacle to the Hamas takeover, aside the Israelis, in the West Bank.
The shape of the power sharing deal is almost visible. Hamas will support the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, as the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, and he, in return, will support the integration of the Hamas in the PLO and respect the outcome of the elections and the Hamas majority in the Palestinian society.
Tawfiq Tirawi was elected as a member in the Fatah Central Committee, in Bethlehem Convention, on Tuesday 08/11/2009 (see – Fatah Leadership).
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